Graves & Epitaphs of Waits

Thomas Coward (1784-1845),the last of the town waits of Alnwick, Northumberland.

This stone
was erected by friends
and admirers of
Thomas Coward
the last of the “Waits”
of this ancient borough
who died on the 6th. Of Feb. 1845
aged 61 years.

Mute is the music. Motionless is the hand
That touched with “Magic bow” the trembling strings.
But memory hath enbalm’d those viol tones
Which fill’d the enraptured ear and charm’d the soul

See photograph

The grave of James Wallace (1775-1845), last of the waits of Berwick-upon-Tweed

can be seen from the west door of the church, hard by the churchyard wall, to the right of the gap leading to the parish room. The inscription reads:

In Memory of
MUSICIAN. Who died June 28th
1827. aged 70 years.
Also the above JAMES
WALLACE, Last of the Town
Waits, died 16th. of March 1845
Aged 85 Years.

Doncaster Waites’ Graves

So far two gravestones have been found of known Waites in St Georges churchyard the parish church of Doncaster. Unfortunately all the gravestones have been levelled and rearranged in the recent past, which has led to an acceleration in their deterioration. They are now very difficult to read but fortunately, they have all been surveyed and recorded.

Wragg family. Click to enlarge
Sacred to the memory of
George Wragg
teacher of music who was born at………? Birley near Brampton in Derbyshire and
died Octo 8th 1819 aged 47 years
also of
David Wragg
son of the above who departed this life Oct 31st 1828 aged 31 years
Hannah Wragg
widow of the above George Wragg who died Nov 1st 1848 Aged 79 years

George Wragg was appointed as one of the town Waites on the 22nd of February 1811 following the death of Thomas Eyre in January of that year. In December 1817, he was appointed to teach and lead the church choir with an annual salary of 20 guineas. His grave is in a prominent position beneath the East window of the church, probably a reflection of his standing in the community. I understand that he may also have been a music dealer with a shop in Frenchgate in the centre of Doncaster.

Clough family. Click to enlarge
Sacred to the Memory of Benjm Clough
who departed this life March 27 1829 aged 85
Also of Benjm the son of Francis and Mary Clough and grandson of……….. above March 4th 183?
Also Mary wife of Frs Clough who died Jany 8th…………..38 aged 57 years
also of Francis Clough husband of the above who died Aug 4 1849 aged 73 yrs.

Benjamin Clough was appointed Waite on the 15th of October 1824. He died at the age of 27 in March 1831. He was one of the last Waites together with John Savage who died in 1829, and the very last Waite James Duncan, who was “discontinued” in 1832, and died in June 1864 aged 72.

Thomas Crawshaw, last of the Waits of Leeds

Next time you’re down this way you can visit the grave of Thomas Crawshaw, the last Leeds Wait. According to Hadland, musical honours were played to his memory at the funeral. He’s burial 14144, grave 6641 according to the register of burials at Beckett Street Cemetery, Burmantofts, Leeds. Three of the Leeds Waits played musical honours at his graveside on November 19th 2004, recreating that aspect of his funeral (see Leeds Waits history), thanks to the efforts of pupils of John Smeaton High School who cleared dense undergrowth around the grave site.
Alan Radford

See picture and newspaper report for an update on the above.